Rebekah Giles

Rebekah Giles

Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (2001)

Partner, Kennedys

UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2017 - Faculty of Law

Rebekah Giles is one of Australia’s leading commercial litigators, yet she was raised with no expectations of entering a career in law.

Growing up in Sydney’s Hills district, higher education was not part of the culture at the time.

“Even to go to Year 11 was a big deal. When one of my teachers said law would be a good fit, the other teachers said: ‘Oh, well maybe you could be a legal secretary, if you really have to pursue this law thing.’”

“Lawyers have these fantastic skills; not just persuasion but also the power to effect change for our communities. I knew after the tsunami I didn’t want a standard legal career. I wanted to live and work for something bigger.”

Rebekah confounded those expectations by being accepted into Law at UTS, achieving Honours, and forging a successful legal career that has seen her recognised for her adroit negotiation skills.

She praises Professor David Barker, former Dean of UTS Law, and her Torts lecturer, Professor Sam Blay, for having confidence in her and encouraging her to pursue tricky topics.

“My mentors at UTS taught me the importance of good relationships, and also to find things that I’m passionate about then just go for it fearlessly. It set me up for my career.” Rebekah’s promising career almost ended when she was caught in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Barely surviving, she needed more than 140 surgeries and was told she might not have children.

Remarkably, just two years later at age 29, she became the youngest partner of international law firm Kennedys. Then in 2010 the first of Rebekah’s two children was born, thanks to a fertilised embryo implant.

Rebekah’s experiences have fuelled her passion to give back. She is now an ambassador for the Fertility and Research Clinic at the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation. She is also Chair of Sydney’s Centennial Parklands Foundation, which recently opened the Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden providing an outdoor learning experience for thousands of children. She is also a Director of the Greater Western Sydney Giants, which this year entered a team in the maiden season of the AFL Women’s Competition.

Having also benefited greatly from her early mentor relationships, Rebekah is dedicated to contributing her expertise to UTS students and the broader Sydney community.

“Lawyers have these fantastic skills; not just persuasion but also the power to effect change for our communities. I knew after the tsunami I didn’t want a standard legal career. I wanted to live and work for something bigger.”

2017 Alumni Awards Rebekah Giles


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